When I sat down to prepare my book Journaling to Become a Better Writer for ebook publication, I thought formatting was going to be a walk through the park. Boy, was I wrong.
Now, before I scare anybody, let me clarify: my book required some intense formatting. Varying margins, bullet points, italicized block quotes … No problemo, except ebooks have to be able to expand and contract like an accordion – depending on what kind of device you’re reading on – and your book has to look awesome on every device.
I never would have made it, had it not been for some essential books on how to format ebooks. And now that I’m preparing the print edition … I went straight to Amazon and picked up a book on formatting print books. I thought I’d share them here with you.
The Smashwords Style Guide … $0.00
by Mark Coker
If you’re publishing on Smashwords, a service which then sends your book out to a host of major ebook retailers automatically, the Smashwords Style Guide is your bible. Because Smashwords magically converts your upload into so many different ebook formats, it has a host of picky requirements – essentially, the middle zone of all the formats, where they all play nicely together. The Smashwords Style Guide outlines everything you need to satisfy “The Meatgrinder,” as they call it, and get your book into the Premium Catalogue – the hallowed ground where Smashwords will ship you off to Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc.
Building Your Book for Kindle … $0.00
Sadly, Smashwords does not upload to Amazon, so you’ll have to do that upload separately. And Amazon has a guide book just for the job! The happy news is, Kindle Direct Publishing is far more forgiving than Smashwords; it has only one ebook format to satisfy, and it’s pretty flexible. For instance, Kindle accepts bullet points, whereas Smashwords does not. If you plow through Smashwords first, Kindle will be a walk in the park.
by Tim C. Taylor
Createspace is a print-on-demand service that automatically makes your print book available to purchase on Amazon. This book makes it easy for Microsoft Word users to turn out a great-looking book on their home computer. As a bonus, the author offers a lot of additional advice for ebook formatting (rounding out your education!) as well as more professional trade secrets than you ever needed to know about the noble profession of book formatting. Don’t worry, if you don’t need that information, you can easily skip a few chapters.
Do you have any favorite resources for ebook formatting? Any advice to newbies? Fill up the comments!